ABOUT VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION

Our Story

The Van Wezel Foundation’s philanthropic purpose has deep roots in the rich cultural history of Sarasota. In 1987, we entered a cultural partnership with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall through its owner, the City of Sarasota. The Hall has served as a beloved performing arts center for over half a century – a home to international creative experiences and a springboard for the Foundation’s educational collaborations.

Now, the Foundation is leading our community into a new era, creating and developing the vision for a contemporary performing arts model of national significance for Sarasota. The venue will be a magnet destination for generations, with the potential to advance education and enrich communities across the state and country.


Our Mission

The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts.

Leading Roles

VAN WEZEL FOUNDATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2021-2022

Van Wezel Foundation Board Leadership:

James Travers
Board Chair*

Jenne K. Britell
Board Vice-Chair*

Vern Chalfant
Board Treasurer & Chair of Finance Committee*

Julie Harris
Board Secretary*

Michael Wilson
Legal Counsel

Van Wezel Foundation Board Members:
Ali Bahaj
Chair of Governance Committee*

Gerald L. Biller

Chad Campbell

Mark P. Famiglio

Sharon Hillstrom

Michele Hooper

Dr. Jaih Jackson

David Koffman

Michael Martella

Dr. John Maupin
Chair of Strategic Plan Committee*

Karl Newkirk

Rochelle Nigri

Walt Pearson

Drayton Saunders

Nanci Ross-Weaver
Chair of Arts Education & Community Engagement Committee*

Charles Wilson

Van Wezel Foundation Ex Officio Board Members:
Mary Bensel
Executive Director, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall

Cheryl Mendelson
CEO, Van Wezel Foundation

*Executive Committee

COMMUNITY COUNCIL

Darrell Ayers
Jackie Griese
Stephen Griese
Ed Maier
Craig Steinhoff
Janet Walter
Christopher Weaver
Patricia White
Janet Winkler

EMERITUS BOARD MEMBERS

Herta Cuneo†
John M. Dart
Beatrice Friedman†
John Jakes
Carolyn Michel
Michael R. Pender, Jr.
Harvey Rothenberg†

† deceased

STAFF

Cheryl Mendelson
Chief Executive Officer
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Mark Cole
Chief Advancement & Marketing Officer
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Laura Hennessey
Chief Operating Officer
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Kelli Maldonado
Executive Director, Education & Lifelong Learner
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Shannon Roddy
Executive Director, Finance & Administration
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Suzanne Hudson-Smith, CFRE
Director of Leadership & Legacy Giving
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Colleen Chamberlain
Executive Assistant and Board Administration Manager
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